Keystone support dips ahead of Senate battle

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Democrats Push Back With Keystone Export and Steel Amendments.

LINCOLN, Neb. Senate Democrats said Tuesday they’ll push amendments to legislation approving the Keystone XL pipeline requiring that it’s built with domestically produced steel and that the oil it carries is used in the U.S. “The project now would simply pump American oil across the American heartland — not to be used here — but to be shipped overseas,” Senator Charles Schumer of New York, the Senate’s third-ranking Democrat, said at a news conference. When Republicans first began pushing the project in earnest, Keystone was billed as a way to lower gas prices, but with prices at the pump already having dropped, and the project itself unrelated to gas costs, the argument has faded. On the same day a Montana community is trucking in clean drinking water after a pipeline leak spilled tens of thousands of gallons of oil into their water supply, Canadian oil company TransCanada has served Nebraska families with eminent domain papers to take their land and put Nebraska’s water supply at risk of even worse tar sands spills with the construction of its Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Officials with TransCanada said they’ve filed paperwork in nine counties to acquire access to the remaining land that’s needed to construct, operate and maintain the pipeline.

The other selling point was the vast number of jobs Keystone would allegedly create, but an independent State Department study found that the project would create about 35 permanent, full-time American jobs – roughly what we’d see from “opening a new Denny’s franchise.” There would be far more temporary jobs associated with Keystone, but they’d come and go fairly quickly. TransCanada spokesman Andrew Craig says it will continue to work to acquire easements voluntarily. “Landowners will bring a county-level challenge to TransCanada’s claim to eminent domain, which will pave the way for another Supreme Court challenge, since the issue of “standing” was not met in the last case, though the majority of judges sided with landowners and agreed that LB 1161 is unconstitutional,” said Bold Nebraska in a statement Tuesday. “The filing of eminent domain on landowners gives them the legal standing and the moral authority to battle TransCanada to our highest court.” According to [the American Petroleum Institute], the pipeline is just like the Mona Lisa: “One of the world’s most recognized works of art was created by a painter who made his living on temporary jobs.” Connecting Keystone to the da Vinci masterpiece, API Vice President Linda Rozett specifically said temporary jobs can be “awesome.” Soon after, the Institute’s exec tweeted a promotional image comparing Keystone to the Sistine Chapel – because both were “temporary” jobs. Republicans have made circumventing President Barack Obama’s review of the Keystone project, by forcing its approval, their first major legislative effort since taking control of both the House and Senate.

Opponents have sued to try to prevent the Calgary, Alberta-based company from using eminent domain and to overturn the state pipeline-siting law that allowed ex-Gov. I’ve seen evidence, which I can neither share nor identify, that Keystone would create hundreds of billions of jobs, and if you disagree, your beholden to radical leftists.” News organizations, reluctant to take sides, would feel compelled to tell the public, “There is disagreement over how many jobs the pipeline will create. It is critical to note that when TransCanada brags about having 100% of the necessary easements in Montana and South Dakota to build its pipeline, what they fail to mention is that many landowners did not sign willingly.

The pipeline would carry an estimated 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day to Nebraska, where it would connect with existing pipelines headed for Gulf Coast refineries. The total would be between 35 and ‘hundreds of billions.’” API, to its credit, is taking a more reality-based approach, conceding that the underlying facts are accurate, while at the same time making the case that temporary jobs are “awesome.” Does the industry group have a point? Company officials say they still need to acquire 12% of the total land easements from Nebraska landowners who have not yet reached a deal with the company. With the backdrop of the Senate debating Keystone XL today, the State of the Union address, and a new NBC poll finding only 41% of Americans approve of the project, we stand with landowners in their call to President Obama to reject the risky pipeline once and for all. Supporters don’t have enough votes to override an expected veto from Obama, who objects to Congress trying to circumvent his administration’s review.

From the Kalamazoo to the Yellowstone rivers and all across the United States, tar sands are a horrible danger and threat that the President must reject.” *picture of Jim: Meghan Hammond, a landowner whose family owns the Build Our Energy Barn, a clean energy project built directly in the path of Keystone XL that would have to be torn down for the risky pipeline: “My family farms and ranches every day in order to put food on Americans’ tables. Landowners will match TransCanada’s lawsuits in local courts and continue to take our fight to the one person who can put an end to all of this: President Obama,” said Jane Kleeb, executive director of pipeline opposition group Bold Nebraska. The impact on the economy and the energy sector can charitably be described as “negligible.” Yes, thousands would temporarily work to put the pipeline in the ground, but policymakers could create far more temp jobs by investing in American infrastructure – highways, bridges, rail, runways, seaports, etc. – without the environmental hazards associated with tar sands, potential leaks, and damage to wildlife habitats and wetlands. President Barack Obama has downplayed the project’s benefits, and the White House has publicly threatened to veto legislation in Congress that would fast-track the project.

Our land is not for sale and we will keep fighting TransCanada until we see their tail lights go back across our border.” Jane Kleeb, Bold Nebraska Director: “Today, Nebraska families are facing an inconceivable moment when land that has been in their hands for generations is being taken away from them by a foreign oil company. At least 70% of the Nebraska landowners have signed agreements, Craig said, and he expects the company will sign agreements with at least half of the remaining landowners without having to use eminent domain.

In the two lawsuits filed last week — which could delay the entire 1,179-mile Canada-to-Nebraska project — seven landowners in Holt and York counties said they’ve received written warning that pipeline developer intends to initiate eminent domain proceedings. Those still willing to negotiate mostly have concerns about compensation and restoration of native grasslands that could take three to five years to regrow, Craig said.

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